Traditional Thanksgiving Day observances and stirrings of Christmas and other events are featured in the United States and abroad this month.
What better place to eat a Thanksgiving dinner than in Plymouth, Mass., home of the original event, on Nov. 22. The day's activities start at 10:15 a.m. with a re-enactment of the Pilgrim's procession to worship from the center of town to the First Parish Church, followed by a Thanksgiving service at 10:30 a.m. in the church at Town Square. A traditional Thanksgiving dinner follows with four seatings: 11 a.m., 12:30 p.m., 2 p.m. and 3:30 p.m. at Memorial Hall on Court Street. Reservations are a must. Costs $20 for adults and $14 per child, 12 years and younger. For more details, call the Plymouth County Development Council at (508) 746-3377.
During Thanksgiving Week, Nov. 15-21 and 23-24, visitors to Plimoth Plantation, at Route 3A and Warren Avenue, can get a holiday feast at the plantation's visitor center. Dinners will be served from 6:30 p.m. to about 8 p.m. Adults pay $33.50, youths under 12, $19.95. For reservations, call Plimoth Plantation at (508) 746-3440.
The Field Museum of Natural History in Chicago has a new permanent exhibit, "Pacific Spirits: Life, Death and the Supernatural," that will open on Saturday. This is the second of two major permanent exhibits in a $4.2-million project now four years in the works. The new exhibit complements the first, "Traveling the Pacific," which opened in November, 1989. The museum is open daily, except Thanksgiving Day, Christmas and New Year's Day, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Admission is $3 for adults and $2 for seniors, youths (2 to 17 years) and students with identification. On Thursdays, admission is free. The museum is at Roosevelt Road at Lake Shore Drive, Chicago, Ill. 60605. For more information, call the museum (312) 922-9410.
Festival of Lights
Wheeling, W.Va., features a "Winter Festival of Lights," beginning Friday and continuing through Feb. 3. More than 250,000 lights are used in displays on trees, buildings, landscapes and city streets. There are about 35 theme displays, including animations of the Statue of Liberty and other effects. Also music, art, ballet and other entertainment throughout the festival. A giant parade of floats will be held Nov. 16 at 7 p.m. in downtown Wheeling. Oglebay Park, a 10-minute drive from downtown, will be the site for most of the displays, which can be seen while driving through the park. All historic buildings, landscapes and other displays in the park utilize about 700,000 colored lights. For more information, call the Wheeling Convention & Visitor's Bureau at (800) 828-3097 or (304) 233-7709.
Up, Up and Away
Rhode Island pays tribute to the first manned balloon flight, in 1783 in Paris by Joseph Michel Montgolfier and Jacques Etienne Montgolfier, brothers and French inventors. A modern version, the Montgolfier Day Balloon Regatta, will take place in Providence Nov. 17-18. About 20 hot-air balloons in all shapes and colors will rise over the city to mark the occasion. Filling of the balloons with air begins at 5 a.m. at the State House lawn in the center of Providence. Balloons generally start rising at 6 a.m., depending on weather conditions. For more information, call the Rhode Island Tourism Division at (800) 556-2484 or (401) 253-0111.
San Antonio Holiday
Christmas comes early to San Antonio, Tex., on Nov. 23, with a 7 p.m. lighting ceremony that begins the "Holiday River Festival," which lasts through Dec. 31. A total of 50,000 twinkling bulbs will light up trees and bridges along the famous San Antonio River Walk. A "Holiday River Parade" occurs immediately afterward. Twenty barges decorated with lights and people in costume will float down the San Antonio River, from the Arneson River Theater to the Municipal Auditorium, 100 Auditorium Circle in downtown San Antonio. This year's theme for the barge parade is a "Boomer's Christmas," calling for each barge to evoke a Christmas memory from the late '50s to the early '60s. For more information about the parade, call the Paseo del Rio Assn. at (512) 227-4262. For information about the festival, call the San Antonio Convention & Visitor's Bureau at (512) 270-8700.
A Dickens of a Time
Another Texan holiday celebration is the annual "Dickens on the Strand" in downtown Galveston from Nov. 30 to Dec. 2. This event is literally a page or two right out of Dickens' "A Christmas Carol," which is staged as part of the festivities that include Victorian-costumed street vendors who sell hot chestnuts roasting over open braziers. Also, costumed musicians stroll by as carolers sing medleys of holiday tunes. Lamplights and torches decorate the Strand, the city's historic district. For more information, call the Galveston Historical Foundation, 2016 Strand, Galveston Island, Tex. 77550, (409) 765-7834.
Puerto Rico Festival